Ayman al-Zawahiri made his first public statements as the new leader of al-Qaeda in a video posted Thursday.
The newly instated leader of the terrorist organization spoke out in support of Syrian protesters, accusing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad of being an American ally.
Protests have roiled Syria since mid-March, and Avaaz.org, a global campaigning organization, said 2,918 Syrians have been arrested or abducted by force during that time.
On Thursday night, The Post’s Joby Warrick saw the video and wrote: “Al-Qaeda has struggled to adapt to epic changes underway in the Middle East, as Arab populations have ignored the terrorist group’s recipe for violent jihad in favor of peaceful protests.”
U.S. officials say al-Qaeda has been pushed to the edge of collapse, and recent letters found in Osama bin Laden’s compound revealed that bin Laden and al-Zawahiri were frustrated by Muslims not perceiving the conflict between al-Qaeda and the United States as the front of a religious war.
SITE Intelligence Group said the video was posted on extremist online forums.